News / USA

    US Intelligence Officials Warn of Persistent Threat from al-Qaida

    Multimedia

    Audio

    America's top intelligence officials have delivered a sobering assessment to Congress, saying that the al-Qaida terrorist network remains a persistent threat to the United States because its followers have been able to adapt their methods to make detection difficult.

    National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair testified Wednesday to the House of Representatives' Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, that the threat from al-Qaida remains strong.

    "We have been warning in the past several years that al-Qaida itself, and its affiliates and al-Qaida-inspired terrorists remain committed to striking the United States.  And in the past year, we have some names that go behind these warnings," he said.

    Blair named as examples from the past year Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan-born man charged with plotting to use weapons of mass destruction in the United States and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian man who allegedly tried to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner on Christmas Day.

    Blair also cited Major Nidal Hasan, an American who allegedly shot and killed 13 people at Fort Hood, in Texas, as an example of a "homegrown, self-radicalized extremist."

    Blair warned that the threat of violent extremism is constantly evolving.

    "We have made complex, multi-team attacks very difficult for al-Qaida to pull off," he said.  "But as we saw with the recent rash of attacks last year, both successful and unsuccessful, identifying individual terrorists, small groups with short histories, using simple attack methods, is a much more difficult task," said Blair.

    At a similar hearing held by the Senate Select Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta said that it is not so much that the United States faces an attack like the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack.

    CIA Director Leon Panetta testifies on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC., 02 Feb 2010
    CIA Director Leon Panetta testifies on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC., 02 Feb 2010

    "I think the greater threat is that al-Qaida is adapting their methods in ways that often times make it difficult to detect," he said.

    Panetta and other intelligence officials warn that al-Qaida is increasingly trying to recruit Americans and others with no terrorist records, and that the danger of self-radicalization by terrorist sites on the Internet is growing.

    Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein asked Blair about the possibility of an attack against the United States in the near future.

    FEINSTEIN:  "What is the likelihood of another terrorist attempted attack on the U.S. homeland in the next three to six months, high or low?  Director Blair?"
    BLAIR:  "An attempted attack the priority is certain, I would say."

    Director Blair cited malicious cyber activity as another increasing threat.  But he said that threat of global economic collapse has decreased substantially since last year.

    At Tuesday's Senate hearing, Republican lawmakers sharply criticized the Obama administration for its handling of the foiled Christmas Day airline bomb plot, complaining that suspect Abdulmutallab stopped talking after he was given a lawyer.

    National Intelligence Director Blair said authorities have to strike a balance between the goals of getting good intelligence and prosecuting the suspect, and that they had done a good job in the case.

    "We got good intelligence, we are getting more," Blair said.

    Obama administration officials say that Abdulmutallab has been cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is now sharing information.

    A federal grand jury has indicted the 23-year-old on six criminal counts, including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted murder. He has pleaded not guilty.

    The case has sparked a heated debate in Congress over whether terror suspects should be taken into civilian or military custody, and tried in civilian courts in the United States or by military tribunals in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    You May Like

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    Clinton, Sanders Fight for African American Votes

    Some African American lawmakers lining up to support Clinton in face of perceived surge by Sanders in race for Democratic nomination in presidential campaign

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.